Mastercard use in Netherlands

Sep 9th, 2011, 05:00 AM
  #1  
sjj
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Mastercard use in Netherlands

I'm posting this from an apartment my wife and I are renting in Amsterdam. An Abn Amro atm at Schipol rejected a Capital One Mastercard debit card but accepted a Schwab Bank Visa debit card this morning. Later in the day the checkout counter at an Albert Hijn supermarket rejected a Travelex chip and pin Mastercard debit card, and an ING atm in the store rejected my Capital One Mastercard debit card but accepted my Schwab Bank Visa debit card. I called Capital One and they said there were no security restrictions on the use of my debit card because I had notified Capital One previously about my trip, and the Travelex card should have no security restrictions because it's prepaid. So I conclude that Master Card debit cards are unpopular for some reason in the Netherlands. Am I the only person having problems of this sort?
sjj is offline  
Sep 9th, 2011, 05:59 AM
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Albert Heijn do not accept credit cards of any kind.

The machines in shops are seeing your debit card as a credit card I think, which is why it is not working. Does the card also have a Maestro sign on it? If not it will not work as a debit card, only as a credit card in shops.

Mastercard credit cards are generally accepted in the Netherlands.
Ishouldntlurk is offline  
Sep 9th, 2011, 06:45 AM
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I've used my MasterCard for years now sans problem all over Holland - though some stores like supermarkets may not take c cards at all as Ishouldnturk says - Americans cards are unlikely to work in train station ticketing machines and the like because many of ours lack the needed security chip European cards have - but they take them at ticket windows.
PalenQ is offline  
Sep 9th, 2011, 07:18 AM
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I had a contrary experience about whether a train station ticket window takes a swipe only credit card. I tried to buy train tickets from the ticket window (that is dealing with a person) at Schiphol airport on Sept 1 (8 days ago.) The ticket agent looked at my Credit Card and told me to go to an ATM to get cash. The agent told me I could not use a CC without CHIP at the ticket window. I did not look closely at the machine whether it had the swipe slot. It was not clear if it was 1) a technical issue, 2)administrative issue (agents instructed to reject non CHIPed cards), or 3) training issue (agent did not know how to process SWIPE card).

I had enough cash, so I just paid in cash to get the purchasing done.

The hotel and stores I visited still took swipe only cards. My CC is Visa.
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Sep 9th, 2011, 08:35 PM
  #5  
sjj
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Update - the ATM at Albert Hijn accepted by Travelex MasterCard debit card, but not a Master card debit card issued by Capital One. So it's the Capital One card that's giving me trouble, for reasons unknown.
sjj is offline  
Sep 9th, 2011, 10:29 PM
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Americans cards are unlikely to work in train station ticketing machines and the like because many of ours lack the needed security chip European cards have

Most of the ticket machines in the Netherlands don't take credit cards of any kind, only debit cards. Has very little to do with the chip.

The agent told me I could not use a CC without CHIP at the ticket window.

I highly doubt that the problem lies with the equipment. The agent may not know how to process a swipe card, but I have yet to see equipment anywhere in Europe that is not also equipped with the ability to read magnetic stripes.
travelgourmet is offline  
Sep 13th, 2011, 02:28 AM
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Swipe-cards are rapidly becoming obsolete here in Europe and soon* will be world-wide. Nearly all European debitcards and creditcards already contain an EMV chip and there will be no cards issued without EMV chips after December 2011. ATM operators and merchants using POS machines are pushed to accept EMV only through a liability shift construction by SEPA.

You should expect not to be able to use magnetic stripe cards anywhere in Europe starting January 2012. Be aware though there already are many places where your swipe-card is not accepted anymore.

During the transition period of swiped to dipped cards you may encounter machines that technically seem capable of accepting both methods from which the swipe-slot is inactivated, either electronically (invisible) or mechanically (usually through inserts or otherwise).

Bottom line: do not depend on your CC for anything but hotel bills, restaurants, fuel and large tourist attractions. Make sure it is EMV compatible (chip and a 4-digit PINcode) and know that PINcode in numbers since keyboards on payment terminals are marked digits only over here. For anything else, carry enough cash.

*): "soon" may be as much as 10 years in some countries
The_lonely_traveler is offline  
Sep 13th, 2011, 03:29 AM
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You should expect not to be able to use magnetic stripe cards anywhere in Europe starting January 2012.

Hogwash. Complete and utter hogwash.

Credit card processing companies are businesses. They aren't going to shut out the world's largest credit card market from using their networks overseas.
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Sep 13th, 2011, 08:54 PM
  #9  
sjj
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My magnetic stripe American credit cards (one Visa, one Mastercard, and one American Express) have been turned down in two restaurants in Amsterdam and one in Gouda. Maybe I'm just having bad luck, but I suggest that visitors to the Netherlands keep themselves well supplied with cash.
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Sep 13th, 2011, 09:04 PM
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What is it with Americans using a credit card for everything? Stoopud. Use cash.
spaarne is offline  
Sep 13th, 2011, 11:52 PM
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What is it with Americans using a credit card for everything? Stoopud. Use cash.

1) Convenience.
2) Security.
3) Possibility of significant rewards.
4) Reduced fx costs for foreign purchases.

I fail to see what is stupid about any of the above. Cash is useful for evading taxes and not much else.
travelgourmet is offline  
Sep 14th, 2011, 09:46 AM
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To spaarne etc...well many of us "stoopud" Americans use credit cards frequently in the U. S. for everything. Our rule of thumb is anything under 20 bucks we pay cash and sometimes otherwise. In Europe, yes we rely almost entirely on cash and ATMs. But sometimes not in a shop...but it is after always so wise to carry big bundles of cash around, is it?
Bill in Boston
Ozarksbill is offline  
Sep 14th, 2011, 11:32 AM
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Dutch people don't carry much cash either. They pay by bank card (which also has a chip on it and a PIN) or occasionally by credit card, or even by single direct debit for expensive items.

Right now I have €2.30 in my purse - all in small denomination coins.

I think the refusal of the credit card is simply because the place you were trying to pay didn't accept them. Otherwise you can still swipe a card at places that accept CCs. Not everywhere accepts CCs. As I said Albert Heijn (and afaik all other supermarkets) don't take them.

Often shops will charge you a surcharge for using one too, though restaurants and hotels don't.
Ishouldntlurk is offline  
Sep 14th, 2011, 02:16 PM
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travelgourmet on Sep 14, 11 at 3:52am
What is it with Americans using a credit card for everything? Stoopud. Use cash.
1) Convenience.
2) Security.
3) Possibility of significant rewards.
4) Reduced fx costs for foreign purchases.
I fail to see what is stupid about any of the above. Cash is useful for evading taxes and not much else.

1) Cash is easier than signing a slip.
2) One of my cards gets nipped at least once a year.
3) I do use CCs for big expenses, e.g. hotels and train stations, sometimes.
4) You get the best rate at cash machines with your ATM card, and no foreign transaction fee if you have an account at a credit union or one of a few select financial institutions. Most CCs charge 3% extra when you are over the border.

Evading taxes? Mon Dieu!
spaarne is offline  
Sep 14th, 2011, 09:10 PM
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1) Cash is easier than signing a slip.

Not in my experience. Particularly when the "slip" is electronic.

2) One of my cards gets nipped at least once a year.

Where the heck do you live? I'd suggest not going to such crime-infested areas. Or at least taking better precautions.

4) You get the best rate at cash machines with your ATM card, and no foreign transaction fee if you have an account at a credit union or one of a few select financial institutions. Most CCs charge 3% extra when you are over the border.

Just as there are alternatives to high-fee bank accounts, there are CCs that don't charge the 3%. Indeed, I'd say it is easier to find a no-fx fee card than a low fee bank account (neither is that hard to find). Off the top of my head, you could choose from among many Capital One cards, the Amex Platinum, the BA card, and the Hyatt card - I know there are more, but can't remember them exactly.
travelgourmet is offline  
Sep 19th, 2011, 03:25 AM
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@travelgourmet: read again. I said: "You should expect not to be able to use magnetic stripe cards anywhere in Europe starting January 2012.". That doesn't mean you won't be able to use it anymore at all, but you should be aware your swipe-card may not be accepted at a given place. There will be (an increasing) number of places where your swiped card won't be accepted but a dipped card may.

"Credit card processing companies are businesses. They aren't going to shut out the world's largest credit card market from using their networks overseas."

Think again, the majority or local merchants here do NOT accept credit cards AT ALL. That's for a simple reason: it costs more money to accept a CC than a local debitcard or even cash. Credit cards (and especially foreign ones - foreign to Europeans, that is) are NOT big business to the majority of local merchants in Europe. And in the end, it's the merchant that decides whether or not to accept a (certain type of) credit card.

Further more, my story was about dipping versus swiping. It's not that CC support will be removed completely but merchants that do support CC _will_ change from swipe machines to dip machines because (a) dipping-support is compulsory starting January 2012 and (b) the liability shift (any CC transaction on a magnetic stripe card is a risk to the merchant whilst a CC transaction on a chip card is a risk for the CC company).

About costs: on average, cash and PIN (debit card) transactions cost about the same at €0.20. Credit card support on average is twelve times as expensive: it costs the merchant on average €2.36 per transaction (source: EIM via HBD.nl, http://www.hbd.nl/pages/833/Onderwer...ransactie.html).
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